NY legal weed: Changing community perception – syracuse.com

There are only a few days left to get tickets to the NY Cannabis Insider Live conference on March 31! Learn from experts and insiders how to finance your cannabis business, source and secure capital, change community perception around opt-outs and understand the role Native American Nations play in the industry.

Longview Strategic, a leading advisory firm in the marijuana industry, is the presenting sponsor for NY Cannabis Insider’s live virtual conference on March 31, which will feature an all-star slate of industry experts.

Headed by founder and CEO Ellie Siegel, Longview Strategic has spent the past five years advising weed companies in multiple states on everything from getting licensed to compliance issues to business development. The firm currently works with businesses in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“We really tailor our services to work with any client on anything they’re trying to accomplish,” Siegel said.

A New Jersey resident, Siegel founded Longview Strategic to offer advice, project management, technical writing, and resource acquisition services to businesses in the cannabis space, she said.

In addition to sponsoring NY Cannabis Insider’s live event, Siegel is speaking on a panel about how to engage with municipal governments, a key aspect to starting a marijuana business in New York.

Similar to legal states like Connecticut and Massachusetts – which allow municipalities to ban adult-use cannabis businesses – New York permitted cities and towns to opt out of hosting those businesses within their borders. Municipalities had until Dec. 31, 2021, to hold a vote banning dispensaries and consumption lounges, and about 34% of them took that route, according to data from the Office of Cannabis Management.

Cities and towns that opted out of recreational weed commerce are allowed to opt in at a later date, and Siegel believes it’s possible to persuade people in some of these municipalities to rethink their position. Even if the town allows marijuana businesses, companies trying to set up shop there will have to earn the approval of local leaders and residents.

“You really have to get the full picture in front of them to be able to answer all their questions, and respond thoughtfully,” Siegel said. “You can find out what the town understands and where the gaps are, and help educate them.”

One pivotal move for dispensaries or other adult-use cannabis businesses trying to open in a town is to approach stakeholders before public meetings, Siegel said. Owners of prospective businesses will eventually have to appear before local government panels like planning boards. Without talking to local officials and neighbors ahead of those meetings, the applicant may get caught flat-footed if asked questions to which they have no answer.

It’s also important for marijuana entrepreneurs to get a feel for how the city or town where they want to open a business operates, Siegel said. For example, municipalities that are disorganized and experience a lot of infighting are typically not the best ones in which to do business. On the other hand, towns that rubber stamp any cannabis company, hoping for a cannabis-tax-led revitalization could also be problematic.

However, Siegel believes that over the next decade most cities and towns in New York that opted out will change their decision.

“To me, one of the best arguments is, ‘it’s happening, and if you want to participate in it in the regulated market, your town is welcome; or you could choose not to, and it’s still happening in your town,’” Siegel said.

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